Sierra Leone MCC Score Card Puts Bio in Smiles

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By Amin Kef Sesay                   

They know him to hardly smile, reasons unaccounted. However, one thing that has happened on Friday 1st November 2019 in Freetown has put smiles of Sierra Leone’s President. President Dr Julius Maada Bio has told a meeting at State Lodge that he is excited about Sierra Leone’s performance in the Millennium Challenge Corporation, MCC, Fiscal Year 2020 scorecard. The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) through a press release said that they were happy to inform the country that Sierra Leone has increased its ‘Control of Corruption’ to 8%. This is culled from a report by the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) which pegs countries scorecards each year. For 2018-2019, the MCC said Sierra Leone has moved from 71 percent in 2018, and now to 79 percent in 2019, making it 8 percent upwards.  That is, it is 30 percent upwards from 22 percent last year, and moving from 49 percent in 2017 to 71 percent in 2018.

According to the report, published on Friday 1st November 2019, and presented to the President by Maria Brewer, the American Ambassador to Sierra Leone, the country did very well in control of corruption, ruling justly and investing in people with pass marks in guaranteeing democratic rights, civil liberties, the rule of law, health and primary education expenditures. The country also made great progress in economic freedom with pass marks in trade policy, gender in the economy and business start-up.

In his response, President Bio said that he was pleased that Sierra Leone was able to meet certain requirements and standard benchmarks and promised that his government would do more to meet the other indicators on the scorecard.

He also used the opportunity to applaud the Honourable Vice President Dr Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh, who supervises the work of the MCC, and commended the entire membership of the Millennium Challenge Coordinating Unit in Sierra Leone, for the achievement.

During the presentation, Ambassador Brewer said that she was very happy and proud to be able to share with the President that the Government of Sierra Leone had passed the MCC Scorecard 2019.

In a statement released earlier on behalf of the Government of Sierra Leone, the Ministry of Information and Communications said that the Government had received with great delight the publication by the MCC scorecard showing significant improvement and was now eligible for the MCC Compact consideration.

The MCC is an independent bilateral United States foreign aid agency that uses key competitive indicators to assess the degree to which the political and economic conditions in a country serve to promote broad-based sustainable economic growth and reduction of poverty and thus provide a sound environment for the use of MCC funds.

This has virtually put Sierra Leone amongst the top ten performers in the MCC income category this year’s report, and making her number two in Africa; and number one in the Mano River Union. The country passed more than 10 of the 20 indicators, including the mandatory “Control of Corruption” indicator in the 2019 MCC Report. Therefore, Sierra Leone is now “Compact Eligible”, meaning that she is eligible to benefit from the US Government around Six Hundred Million United States Dollars (US$600M).

The MCC is an initiative United States Government to provide aid to developing countries to fight widespread poverty through economic growth. Its scorecard consists of 20 indicators under three broad categories: “Economic Freedom,” “Ruling Justly,” and “Investing in People.” The ‘Control of Corruption’ Indicator falls under “Ruling Justly” category.

Similarly, Sierra Leone has also scored high in other global and regional anti-corruption rankings. In the Global Corruption Barometer, she ranked 3rd out of 35 African Countries surveyed on “Government’s Effectiveness in the Fight against Corruption.” A happy president smiled while being presented the report card by American ambassador to Sierra Leone Maria Brewer. And the ACC followed saying in a press release saying that they were reassuring the public of their determination to continue to inject integrity and transparency into State governance.

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